January 01, 2019 2 min read
Christmas is over, even though you might still have twice your body weight in chocolate and cheese plus enough left-over booze to re-float The Titanic.
It’s time to think about your New Year resolutions. Many of our own typically involve health and exercise, and there’s no reason why we can’t apply the same thinking to our dogs. OK, they can’t make resolutions for themselves, but we can make them on their behalf.
Around 65% of dogs are overweight or obese, so shedding a few pounds is a great goal you can make for your pet. How can you achieve that?
Be honest with yourself: do you walk your dog as often as you should? For a medium-sized breed, a one-hour walk or two 20-minute walks each day should be enough for you both to reach sufficient physical activity for the week.
When circumstances allow – when away from traffic and livestock – take every opportunity to let your dog off the lead. This is the doggie equivalent of ‘going for a run’.
Of course, daily walks aren’t the only way you can keep your dog in shape. Consider supplementing your daily walks with other activities such as agility (that’s show-jumping for dogs), flyball or working trials (a sort of heptathlon).
Or how about running with your pet? CaniX is canine cross-country running. Switch between walking and running at first, then tackle a 2.5k race.
So how will you fuel all this activity? Nutrition is as important for dogs as for us humans, too. First off, try to stop the bad habits such as feeding your pet from the table. Not only is a lot of ‘human’ food bad for your dog, but it also turns them into beggars. Not a good look when you have visitors round. Simply stop feeding your dog at the table. Next time you’re eating, refuse to give your dog any food at the table. Encourage them to sit away from the food. Reward them with a raw carrot afterwards if you’d like to treat them. You’d be amazed how much they like to crunch on a carrot. If your dog is highly active, he’ll need a diet high in protein (around 30%) and fat (up to 25%). No more than 15% of his diet should be from carbohydrates. Since a lot of dog food comes with only about one-fifth protein and too many carbs, consider supplementing your dog’s meals with eggs, chicken or turkey. A dry-food element is also a good option.
You might take supplements to help with your health, but dogs can take them as well. Two great ones to introduce to their daily intake are omega-3 fatty acids to keep inflammation down, and around 1500mg of glucosamine, which helps keep hips and joints in good condition.
If you’re in any doubt, or need professional advice, book an appointment with your vet to review your pet’s current diet.
Have a great 2019 and have fun getting fit with your dog!